SUWON, South Korea, Oct 10 (Korea Bizwire) — The Rural Development Administration said on October 9 that its agronomic scientists have developed a new rice variety naturally resistant to the rice water weevil, an insect pest that is known to attack stored rice and rice crops. Rice water weevils are difficult pests to eradicate as the larva inhabits in the roots of rice crops, which makes it hard to kill with pesticide. The pest makes it more expensive for farmers to grow rice as it requires spraying pesticide several times a season.
The new rice variety was created by inserting insect-killing genes extracted from bacillus bacteria occurring commonly in soil into the rice genes. The administration expects that farmers using the crop variety will be able to save up to 30 percent in pesticide cost and 20 percent in labor input.
The Rural Development Administration applied for a patent for the technology in August this year and published an article about it in a forthcoming issue of the Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture journal. Shin Gong-shik, an RDA genetic engineer who was one of the researchers who participated in the project, said, “The latest achievement will be very useful for reducing pesticide use and resulting environmental pollution.”